…I have no hands in importation -Saraki
Chris Steven, Abuja
The faceoff between the Senate and Comptroller General of Nigeria Custom Services, Hameed Ali is taking a new twist as the Senate on Tuesday resolved to investigate its president, Bukola Saraki, over an allegation that an impounded sports utility vehicle imported into the country with fake documents belonged to him.
Former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume had raised a point of order during plenary over the issue of an impounded vehicle alleged to be owned by the Senate President.
Ndume drew attention to a publication by an online medium, Sahara Reporters, that the impounded armoured Range Rover SUV which is said to worth N298m, belonged to Saraki and that the insistence of the Senate that the Customs boss Hameed Ali appear before it in uniform is connected to his refusal to release the vehicle which was seized on January 17.
But a media aide to Saraki, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the senate president had nothing to do with how the SUV was imported, noting that it was the Senate that contracted out its procurement.
“A supplier was engaged by the Senate to supply a vehicle. While transferring the vehicle between Lagos and Abuja, it was impounded by the Customs,” Olaniyonu said.
“We believe that is an issue between the supplier and the Customs because the Senate has not taken delivery. So, why is somebody trying to drag in the name of Saraki into the issue?”
Ndume, however, said that it was important for the Senate to investigate the allegation in order to avoid a scandal that could soil its image and clear the perceived misconception that the Senate insisted Ali appear before it in uniform because of refusal to cooperate on the release of the SUV.
“The newspaper said the Senate is on vengeance after Nigeria Customs seized Senator Saraki’s bulletproof Range Rover over fake documents.
“My colleagues that are following events, particularly online, have seen or heard or read the rain of abuses on this Senate and the misconception of the fact that we invited the Customs boss based on a very unpopular policy that affects the people we represent, but now we are faced with this.